We are regular cruisers and know what to expect. I'll try to keep this to the point.
The ship is just too big with too many people. On your second day when the elevator door opens and there is enough room for you inside you will feel like you just won the lottery. Several people would get in the elevator even if it wasn't going in there direction just so they could stay on it and finally get off on the floor of their choice.
During slow times there was no problems but during peak times get ready to use the staircase if you want to get anywhere quick.
Norwegian wants to say they are freestyle cruising but there is nothing freestyle about this cruise. Freestyle cruising means you're not assigned to a dinner table. But on this cruise you better make a reservation for anywhere you want to go and get there early to beat the crowd of thousands of people because everything is already sold out after the second day. And I'm not talking shows and dinners that you have to pay extra for.... that's a whole Other story. I'm talking about what is supposed to be included with your admission.
There are 12 dining options on this ship. However only 6 of them are complementary. And only 2 are full restaurants. All of the others are UPcharge restaurants.
upcharge... get used to it. Everywhere on the ship is an upcharge.
The famous Ice Bar that is on the ship, $20 upcharge per person, bowling? $7 per person per game. Want fresh squeezed OJ with Breakfast from the juice bar? that will be $4. Even the complimentary restaurants have upcharge selections.
GYM. Very nice... very large... a cross between PlanetFitness and Golds Gym. However... (ready for the UpCharge?)
Want to go to the gym and then hit the sauna and steam room to burn off all the toxins you drank in the day before? Well the gym is free but use of the steam room and saunas is a $219 upcharge for the week!!! (For $249 they will include a nice body exfoliation lotion you can use.... PLEEEEZE)
6pack of Water for your room....that'll be $25 (seriously)... you'll seen :-(
Pools are smallest on any ship I've ever seen.
The ship is so crowded with so many guest that you have to make a RESERVATION to catch the tender boat to get off and go to the island.
You have to make a RESERVATION for a comedy show
you have to make a RESERVATION to eat dinner even in the free restaurants.
How is this called freestyle cruising when if you don't make reservations, get there early and keep a schedule you never get to do anything. Why? Because the ship has 4500 guests on it. Take a good look at the picture of the ship. In my opinion it is a floating hotel room with no vacancies and very little common areas. This was our 5th cruise in 2 years.... technically the ship is the BIGGEST we've been on.... realistically... it felt like the SMALLEST ship due to the LACK of common areas... 'um... more staterooms please'
The casino stretches almost the whole length of the sixth floor. Take your gas mask because you know smoking is allowed in the casinos.
Our room steward was great. We ran into a handful of associates that cared.
Shirley our room Steward... GREAT
Giancarlo.... Matrede' of "The Taste" saved our evening with his sincere caring and professionalism
Melanie Campeau in the shops.... LUV U!! thanks again!!
Saha Santu in the Manhattan room... thanks again for making our anniversary dinner a great memory.
Most of the others...you can tell by the looks on their faces, they are simply overwhelmed with jobs too big and too great for their staff to handle so they simply try to make the best of it. Such as Jatin Vyas at Guest Services.... although he could have done more for us (as we learned) he at least tried.
PS... if you can't get a reservation for late night entertainment... just sit in listening distance of guest services..... its SO BAD its almost comical.
We had much more fun off of the boat then on the boat. Overall sure we had a good time because we made the most of it, but I can tell you, I went to guest services on Friday night and asked how early can I get off of the ship .... because I wanted to run off of the ship and enjoy my last weekend of my vacation without having to make reservations and watch the clock for everything I do.
If you have reservations for the ship and are used to your sail away card being all you need on the ship to do whatever you want.... and are used to being able to go catch a tender boat to the island at your convenience... and go eat when you want... or look at the schedule and see there is a comedy show and go down and try to catch it??? CANCEL your plans as soon as possible and get another cruise line. We've been on Norwegian about four times. But this was our first Norwegian cruise in the past three years and my gosh have many things changed. Even the employees would shake their heads with us and say yes a lot has changed.
If you are planning on going on this ship and can't make any changes. Just be prepared to "make the best of it ". If you were booked on the ship and it is your first cruise, please do not think this is what cruising is like because this ship is a very bad example of what cruising is like.
Every person we ran into, every conversation, from people in the elevator, to dinner, to pool, jacuzzi, even the shuttle back to our cars after the cruise.... all people were talking about was their dissatisfaction with the ship and the crowd size. I spoke to one elderly gentleman who told me this was his 79th cruise and he has never been on a ship like this one. And he meant that in a negative way as we began to share our disappointments with the ship.
I also learned the reason why Carnivals slogan is the "fun ships". This ship was Boring!! The band by the pool only plays the best of the "softies".
Oh and BTW. There is one bar on the pool deck.
The right side of the pool deck is THE BAR, opposite of the bar, in the same shape and square footage... it actually SHOULD be another bar... but instead this entire other side is dedicated to "towel exchange" thus limiting bar access.
At Embarkation you will be checked into a room for the 4500 of you getting on the ship that has NO vending machines.... water fountains by the restrooms.... that is IT. A precursor of what's to come....
I could go on but I just want to put this cruise in the 'learning' section of my vacations. The BEST advice I heard and I will pass on..... SHOP THE SHIP...NOT THE ITINERARY OR STOPS.....SHOP THE SHIP!!
We tried for 3 months to get a 'reasonable' upgrade. First time ever we could NOT. Cabin was SMALL. Lighting..TERRIBLE. Had to listen to my wife every day that she could not see. I actually used my cell phone light every day at one time or another... Pathetic!!! I'm sure balconies are no problem but if you stuck in an inside cabin... bring a flashlight. SERIOUSLY!!!!!!
Got a great view of the Island... able to stop at different places... not rushed at all. $30pp for 6 of us.
At $49pp this was well worth the $$ Of course you will still (and always) have to battle crowds to get to your excursion but this was the best bang for the buck. Great time battling UP river. NO time constraints and lots of fun. Go in your bathing suit and have fun!!!View All 287 Dunn's River Falls Reviews
I was worried my sail away card would NOT be enough after all of the UPCHARGE surprises on this cruise... thankfully all went well. No upcharges..